Claw toes are can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Here you will learn how to recognize their characteristics and what can be done to correct them.
Claw toes, sometimes referred to as claw foot, live up to their name. The condition causes the toes to curl into an unnatural, clawlike position. They can be uncomfortable, particularly while wearing shoes, and can be embarrassing when it comes time to wear opentoed footwear in warmer months. Fortunately, they are treatable, sometimes just with simple home care.
Claw toes overview
Claw toes can develop from nerve damage, muscle weakness or inflammation. Sometimes they are a congenital deformity, meaning that they are part of a person's makeup from birth. They seem to be fairly common in people with high arches. Claw toes cause the first joint of your toes to flex upwards and the second and sometimes third joint to point downwards, resulting in the appearance of a talon, or claw. Calluses can form from the joints pressing against the inside of your shoes. It is a progressive condition; without treatment, claw toes will become more pronounced and uncomfortable.
If rigidity has not set in the joints, you can try simple exercises, such as using your toes to pick up objects from the floor, to straighten them out. Massaging them into a normal position is also useful. You should always wear comfortable shoes with a proper fit and plenty of room in the toes. A shoe repair shop can stretch the toe area to make more space. Pads worn inside the shoes can help to shift your weight and relieve pressure.
Your doctor may order physical therapy sessions for stretching and strengthening your toe joints. Physical therapists can also design shoe inserts to correct the problem. If your condition has progressed to the point that you cannot manually straighten your toes, surgery can be performed to reposition the joints.
Podiatrists are trained to recognize and diagnose claw toes and many other foot problems. Call for an appointment today to discuss any concerns you may have.